Broadway's tallest tower proposed above future South Granville Station (RENDERINGS)

Sep 8 2021, 3:43 pm

After much speculation, a level of density and a wide range of uses deserving of the future South Granville Station on SkyTrain’s Millennium Line Broadway Extension has been formally proposed by PCI Developments.

It would stand at 410 ft (125 m) with 39 storeys, directly above the subway station at the northeast corner of the intersection of Granville Street and West Broadway, making it by far taller than any other existing building on the Central Broadway Corridor — and even taller than other future towers in the area.

In fact, this tower at 1477 West Broadway would be one of the tallest buildings within the City of Vancouver outside of the downtown peninsula.

There would be 223 secured rental homes, with 178 units (80%) as market rentals and 45 units (20%) as below-market rentals for households earning between $30,000 and $80,000 annually.

The proposed unit mix includes 60 studios, 83 one-bedroom units, 61 two-bedroom units, and 19 three-bedroom units — enough rental homes for over approximately 450 people. Residents will have access to an indoor and amenity space on the tower rooftop at the 39th level, and an outdoor amenity space on the podium rooftop.

1477 West Broadway South Granville Station tower

Artistic rendering of the tower concept above the future South Granville Station at 1477 West Broadway, Vancouver. (Musson Cattell Mackey Partnership/PCI Developments)

1477 West Broadway South Granville Station tower

Artistic rendering of the tower concept above the future South Granville Station at 1477 West Broadway, Vancouver. (Musson Cattell Mackey Partnership/PCI Developments)

1477 West Broadway South Granville Station tower

Artistic rendering of the tower concept above the future South Granville Station at 1477 West Broadway, Vancouver. (Musson Cattell Mackey Partnership/PCI Developments)

Down below, between the fourth and ninth levels, there would be 100,000 sq ft of office space for about 500 workers.

And this is all above a significant commercial retail component, with a 22,000 sq ft grocery store on the second level — identified as a need for the area by city staff and the Broadway Plan’s early public consultation — and 7,400 sq ft of retail and restaurant space on the ground level.

The subway station entrance will be fully integrated into the building’s corner with the intersection of Granville Street and West Broadway.

1477 West Broadway Vancouver South Granville Station

Form and uses of 1477 West Broadway at the future South Granville Station. (Musson Cattell Mackey Partnership/PCI Developments)

1477 West Broadway South Granville Station tower

Artistic rendering of the tower concept above the future South Granville Station at 1477 West Broadway, Vancouver. (Musson Cattell Mackey Partnership/PCI Developments)

1477 West Broadway South Granville Station tower

Artistic rendering of the tower concept above the future South Granville Station at 1477 West Broadway, Vancouver. (Musson Cattell Mackey Partnership/PCI Developments)

“When you look at the regional context and where the city is trying to go, this location at this very prominent intersection, with the South Granville Station directly beneath it, it is very appropriate with this mix of uses. This development is really an opportunity to advance the city’s objectives,” said Tim Grant, the president of PCI Developments, in an interview with Daily Hive Urbanized on Tuesday.

A rezoning application for the development site at 1477 West Broadway was submitted to the municipal government in July 2021, shortly after Vancouver City Council provided city staff with the green light to formally accept and review the rezoning application.

This is being proposed as a vertical extension of the six-storey, commercial-only building that is already well under construction, pursued through existing zoning under the previous development permit application process as a placeholder, given the tight timeline to complete the subway station.

Approved development permit application concept for a six-storey, commercial-only building:

1465-1489 West Broadway Vancouver South Granville Station

Artistic rendering of the six-storey concept for Broadway Subway’s South Granville Station integrated into 1477 West Broadway, Vancouver. (Musson Cattell Mackey Partnership/PCI Developments)

Proposed rezoning application concept for a vertical expansion of the six-storey building to become a 39-storey building:

1477 West Broadway South Granville Station tower

Artistic rendering of the tower concept above the future South Granville Station at 1477 West Broadway, Vancouver. (Musson Cattell Mackey Partnership/PCI Developments)

Grant says there is a strong desire by the provincial government and city staff to ensure there is not an active construction site for the tower when the subway opens for service in 2025.

“If we can keep going with construction on the site above the sixth storey, we would be fully finished by the time the subway opens, and the site will be cleaned up. We don’t really have any room to spare there, and if we had to stop construction, it would be very challenging to meet that timeline,” he said.

The original intention was to submit a formal rezoning application after the Broadway Plan is reviewed by city council, but at this point, the process leading to a finalized plan for the area has been delayed for well over a year.

City council is currently not expected to review and potentially approve the Broadway Plan until early 2022 at the earliest, at which point it would be too late to kick off the formal rezoning application process for 1477 West Broadway to ensure its construction does not interfere with the opening of the subway station.

1477 west broadway south granville station july 3 2021

Construction progress as of July 3, 2021 on PCI Developments’ 1477 West Broadway project and the future South Granville Station. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

1477 west broadway south granville station july 3 2021

Construction progress as of July 3, 2021 on PCI Developments’ 1477 West Broadway project and the future South Granville Station. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

“We purchased this site in 2007, and over the last few years there has been a real focus on the need of having a station at this location,” said Grant.

“It is a really challenging intersection to locate a station, so we’ve been working with the city over the last few years and more intensely with the provincial government more recently to try to make it work.”

The previously approved development permit application incorporated components that would allow for a significant vertical extension of the building.

There is an extra elevator core for the residential floors, and space is set aside on the Granville Street frontage for the residential lobby.

1477 West Broadway South Granville Station tower

Artistic rendering of the tower concept above the future South Granville Station at 1477 West Broadway, Vancouver. (Musson Cattell Mackey Partnership/PCI Developments)

1477 West Broadway South Granville Station tower

Artistic rendering of the tower concept above the future South Granville Station at 1477 West Broadway, Vancouver. (Musson Cattell Mackey Partnership/PCI Developments)

A total of six underground levels containing 285 vehicle parking stalls and 507 bike parking spaces — way more than what is necessary for the approved six-storey office and retail building — is currently being constructed.

The developer has set aside high-profile ground level floor space for the subway station entrance, and a portion of the P1 and P2 underground levels for the station’s concourse. Construction on the building is now approaching the P2 level.

Grant says the provision of space for the subway station is a significant public benefit being provided by the development that should be counted towards any formal community amenity contribution calculation.

“We think it certainly should be a consideration, and we’re certainly incurring costs to accommodate the transit station. I think city staff are certainly recognizing that,” he said.

1477 West Broadway South Granville Station tower

Artistic rendering of the tower concept above the future South Granville Station at 1477 West Broadway, Vancouver. (Musson Cattell Mackey Partnership/PCI Developments)

1477 West Broadway South Granville Station tower

Artistic rendering of the tower concept above the future South Granville Station at 1477 West Broadway, Vancouver. (Musson Cattell Mackey Partnership/PCI Developments)

1477 West Broadway South Granville Station tower

Artistic rendering of the tower concept above the future South Granville Station at 1477 West Broadway, Vancouver. (Musson Cattell Mackey Partnership/PCI Developments)

The scale and scope of uses for the project is made possible by the lack of mountain view cones that would otherwise limit the height of the buildings in the area.

For this reason, taller towers can potentially be expected around South Granville Station, made evident by city council’s 2020 approval of the 283-ft-tall, 28-storey rental housing tower for 2538 Birch Street (two blocks east of the station) and the recent formal rezoning application to redevelop 1395 West Broadway into a 315-ft-tall, 24-storey office tower (one block east of the station).

The tower would have about 315,000 sq ft of total floor area, creating a floor space ratio density of a floor area that is 12.16 times larger than the size of the lot — previously the footprint of an RBC office building, one- and two-storey commercial buildings, and a segment of laneway sold to the developer by the municipal government.

Local architectural firm Musson Cattell Mackey Partnership designed the six-storey commercial building under the development permit application, and it is also responsible for the rezoning application’s 39-storey design. The tower has a stacked form, and uses a warm palette of colours and materials.

south granville station skytrain broadway extension

SkyTrain South Granville Station design concept, April 2021. (Government of BC)

south granville station broadway subway

South Granville Station on the SkyTrain Millennium Line Broadway Extension (Broadway Subway). (Government of BC)

south granville station broadway subway

South Granville Station on the SkyTrain Millennium Line Broadway Extension (Broadway Subway). (Government of BC)

south granville station broadway subway

South Granville Station on the SkyTrain Millennium Line Broadway Extension (Broadway Subway). (Government of BC)

south granville station broadway subway

South Granville Station on the SkyTrain Millennium Line Broadway Extension (Broadway Subway). (Government of BC)

south granville station broadway subway

South Granville Station on the SkyTrain Millennium Line Broadway Extension (Broadway Subway). (Government of BC)

PCI Developments also has a partnership with the provincial government for the site wedged between Thornton Street and Emily Carr University of Art and Design (ECUAD) — the site of the Great Northern Way-Emily Carr Station. The property is being used for tunnel boring and station construction staging needs, but it will eventually be handed back to the developer for the construction of a new office building integrated with the station entrance.

The developer has plans to develop about two million sq ft of office space across about half a dozen buildings along Great Northern Way between Great Northern Way-Emily Carr Station and VCC-Clark Station. These office properties are collectively known as South Flatz, including the recently completed building at 565 Great Northern Way in front of the ECUAD campus.

Earlier this year, PCI Developments acquired the former MEC headquarters building at 1077 Great Northern Way, and it has since been entirely leased to Electronic Arts as an expansion office.

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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